The Canadian Association of Elizabeth Fry Societies (CAEFS) office is in the traditional and unceded territory of the Algonquin Nation, which is colonially known to many as Ottawa, Ontario. Algonquin territory remains home to many First Nations, Inuit, and Metis peoples from across Turtle Island. While our main office is located in this territory , our work is done across the country and so, our work takes place on the traditional territories of many different nations.
Many within the CAEFS network are white from European settler ancestry; some have come to these lands through other histories of colonialism rooted in slavery and forced migration; and there are many of us who are Indigenous to Turtle Island. Every day, we work to acknowledge our relationship to this land and to colonialism, and to work in solidarity with Indigenous people towards decolonization – especially by paying critical attention to the ways that our work environments continue to reproduce colonial logics.
The connection between colonization and the criminalization of Indigenous people is irrefutable and has led to a crisis of over-incarceration and disproportionate punishment for Indigenous women and gender-diverse people. The path forward to stopping this crisis must address the root causes and put Indigenous self-determination at the centre of any and all solutions. We echo the demands from Indigenous communities to the Canadian Government to implement the calls to action from the reports released by the National Inquiry into Missing Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG), Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples (RCAP), and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.